Make sure to get a good travel insurance. Most health insurers cover basic necessary health care costs abroad, but make sure to inform what is covered and what is not.
For example, think of things you might want to try out on holiday, such as paragliding, scuba diving or horseback riding. Activities that may involve a certain risk.
But even if you only intend to relax by the pool during your holiday, it is good that you are covered against eventualities.
A European health insurance card, better known by its abbreviation EHIC *, is the minimum you need to take with you on a trip. This covers, for example, a visit to a public hospital/emergency room (urgencias), in case of need. In these public health hospitals only Spanish, (or when you are lucky) a little English, is spoken.
* for UK nationals: If you have an existing EHIC, it will remain valid until the expiry date on the card, if not, you need to apply for a UK GHIC. For more info, see this link.
What should I pay attention to when traveling with an EHIC/GHIC?
- You only receive necessary medical care during a temporary stay abroad. So no private healthcare or repatriation
- The card is personal, for both adults and children. Everyone should therefore bring their own card.
- The validity period is stated on the card, so check in advance whether it has not yet expired.
Private doctors and hospitals do not accept the European health card. You have to pay for medical care in these types of (private) centers and claim the money back upon your return home. I recommend that you take out a travel insurance. This is usually not expensive (roughly 1£ to 2£ per day) and you avoid a lot of financial misery if something does goes wrong during your holiday.
With a good travel insurance you can also go to the – very modern – private hospitals, which usually have translators available. They will assist you – often in your own language – with advice and assistance.
If you need to go to the hospital, try to contact your insurance company as soon as possible (most have a 24/7 emergency number) so that they can coordinate everything with the hospital. Otherwise you might end up with a sky-high hospital bill.
In most hotels you can also have a doctor come to the hotel. For such a consultation the doctor charges you approximately 70, - euros which you will have to pay on the spot. You will get an invoice which you can submit to your health insurer afterwards.